SUMMARY: Women Mean Business is a pilot program executed by Project Clear LTD on behalf of Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) funded by IFC (World Bank Group). The program aims to equip start-up women-owned SMEs by enhancing their business development skills and impacting entrepreneurial values.
- Women have big potential to contribute. Women-owned enterprises make substantial contributions to economic growth, and their number is increasing at a faster pace than men’s businesses (Niethammer 2013). Around the developing world, women own approximately 8 to 10 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which account for 31 to 38 percent of all SME’s in emerging markets (IFC and GPFI 2011). Overall, entrepreneurship represents a large proportion of women’s paid work in many countries, and is thus a critical avenue through which to support women’s economic empowerment (de Mel et al. 2012).
- Despite the potential, women face a number of barriers that hamper their economic success. In general terms, while global gender-based disparities have been substantially reduced in the areas of health and education, high gender gaps and limited progress in women’s empowerment persist in the economic domain (World Economic Forum 2013). In entrepreneurship specifically, a multitude of gender inequalities related to time, human and financial capital and social constraints hamper women’s entrepreneurial entry and growth potential. One of the main challenges female entrepreneurs face is limited access to finance. On average, women have less access than men to basic financial services including checking and savings accounts, as well as to formal credit (IFC and GPFI 2011). At the aggregate level, women also have less education and business experience than their male counterparts, and fewer professional networks that they can leverage to access business-related resources and advice.
Women Mean Business pilot has adopted an innovative and bold approach to empowering women in business. The pilot has opted to empower women in business by capitalizing on their strength rather than their weaknesses. The pilot aim to create a platform for women to showcase their rare skills in businesses that have enabled them to overcome social stereotypes and emerge as winners. The pilot has chosen the path of recognizing contributions women entrepreneurs have made in building Tanzania economy to a middle economy status. Women Mean Business is a call to action for the society at large to take off gender stereotyped goggles and see and recognize what women have achieved in business.
The women recognized are those who have shown tenacity, experience, positive impact and influence in running their businesses. The pilot has targeted women that function predominantly in the growth sectors within Tanzania. These include: Agri-Business;Tourism, Retail and Service Industry
The design of WMB pilot was motivated by the need for a change after the review of existing literature from businesswomen empowerment program in the country indicate that training a default mode of delivery. The success of most of these women empowerment programs is measured in terms of outputs instead of outcomes. This is to say that programs record success by number of women that attended training not the growth of women business or number of new women businesses that started because of the training conducted.
We believe WMB will offer an alternative route to women entrepreneurs’ empowerment withoutdisrupting their business by going to attend training, with full recognition of their initiatives that have kept them going before the engagement of program.
The pilot will focus on identifying factors inhibiting women in their business and design an Enterprise Development to address the factors around:
• Business Analysis and Evaluation
• Sales, Marketing and Business Development
• Financial Understanding and Management
• Operational Effectiveness
Project Development Objectives
The development objective of this technical assistance is to empower women by giving them a platform to enable them to tell their story. Specifically, the assignment will aim to:
• Identify top 6business women in the 3/4 different sectors and showcase them to inspire others by acting as role models through their testimonials.
• Design and produce contents for Enterprise Development through the experiences of the 6 Business women
• Amplification of the contents to a 60 chosen SMEs and also on different social and mass media platforms
We recognize the efforts ofthe Government of Tanzania in championing women to enter the business arena. In Tanzania, women have benefitted from a decade of economic transformation through increased access to new employment opportunities in higher productivity sectors such as manufacturing and trade, expansion of public services made has increased the education of women and hence their participation in and contribution to the labour forceas well as increasing life expectancy.
- This program is in line with the National 5 Year Development Plan 2016/17-2020/21 (Tanzania) which aims to increase Gender and Women Economic Empowerment.
- SDGs goal number 5 which is Gender Equality aiming at ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic, and public life.
- It is aligned with the Country Partnership Framework (FY18-FY22) that emphasises on promoting gender inclusion to narrow the economic and social gaps between men and women
- Also aligned with the SME-Development Policy of Tanzania which emphasises on Gender and the Disadvantaged Groups. Women are a significant part of the Tanzanian labour force and as such any meaningful development effort must mainstream women. It is clear that men and women stand on uneven ground and thus the need for specific measures for promoting women businesses.
This year, Women Mean Business accepts participants from sectors of Agribusiness, Light Manufacturing, and Tourism. Please fill the form https://wmb.co.tz/ to participate.